In the first episode of The O.C. – a TV series from the early 2000s – we meet a wealthy family living on the Californian coastline and the character playing the part of the forty-something years old father and businessman. He wakes up – a beautiful and warm sunny morning greeting him through the partly opened bedroom curtains; he stretches and kisses his half-asleep wife, then grabs the surfboard and quietly makes his way to the beach, steps into the wet suit and goes to surf the amazing waves of the Pacific Ocean that soundly crash on the shores. After some time of this invigorating exercise he drives back home, has a shower and a shave, and chooses the formal suit to wear for the day; then steps downstairs to have a healthy and luxurious breakfast with his family. At the end of this daily routine, he finally steps into the Jeep and drives to the office.
Ok… hit the brakes and hold the horses.
I read again the summary about the show, should I have missed something: it states “A troubled youth becomes embroiled in the lives of a close-knit group of people in the wealthy, upper-class neighborhood of Newport Beach, Orange County, California.” And it’s supposed to be a lighthearted comedy slash drama.
Drama? That was pure science fiction! Failing the introduction of some sort of a gadget/gizmo/thingamabob that creates a temporal dilation, who in this time and age has such luxury of ‘me’ time in the mornings, and sometimes neither in the weekends?
My routine mornings consist in waking up from a pleasant slumber long before any rooster come to terms that it’s time to start crowing to announce the incoming daylight; I peep outside and it’s still pitch dark — definitely, an ungodly hour to get up; and no, I don’t care if the saying goes, ‘the early bird catches the worm’ – because the early worm gets eaten. I quickly take a shower (sometimes even quicker, because I forgot to turn on the geyser the night before – and in such case the crowing-come-howling would come from me instead of the rooster); then, freezing to the bone, I rush to find something to wear.
Whatever is clean and no, it won’t matter if it hasn’t been ironed; looking at the current trend of people wearing ragamuffin-look ripped jeans I should anyway be perfectly in line with the high street fashion of the year. The dogs keep doing loops around my legs, bright and awake since 4 a.m., demanding everything from me – from food, to play, to a biscuit, to undivided attention – not necessarily in that order, but usually food takes the priority in their ‘to get’ list. After such deed, I need to convince them to make their way outside, which they will do only when bribed with a biscuit for each dog. Back into the kitchen, I shove in the rucksack something from the fridge that resembles food which can be eaten for lunch; then find the house and car keys, they seem to live their own life disappearing from the place I put them the previous night.
Eventually, gloriously and satisfied by my achievement, I jump into the car and drive away to go fight the pre-dawn bumper-to-bumper traffic in a way not dissimilar to the one of a brave medieval knight on his horse, setting towards the battlefield to defend the kingdom.
All this I manage to accomplish in less than 15 minutes, most of them spent swearing and half asleep.
Healthy breakfast with orange juice, just-baked out-of-the-oven fresh brioche, bacon and eggs, toast and homemade jam? Who’s preparing it, Pinocchio’s Fairy Godmother?
We are so caught up in the rat race and the daily pressure to achieve and to be creative, to be brave and strong, to keep abreast with trends and to be social, that we barely have any time to enjoy the small pleasures in life. I would love to be like this father in ‘The O.C.’ and start my morning with a walk on the beachfront (no, I can’t surf, it takes a balance that I don’t have), followed by a leisure breakfast that would put me in a good mood for the day. Heck, I could even do with a mere espresso and one biscuit while lying in bed! Unfortunately, my office is located far and away from my house (not by choice: job opportunities nowadays are as rare as caviar in a poor man’s kitchen, so we take what we get) and, if I miss the minute, my 30-minute trip turns into an infernal one and a half hours’ journey at the centre of a slowly moving tsunami of vehicles driven by people who are as stressed, short-tempered and downright angry as me. The result is that I arrive to destination with the intense desire to slap the first person who gingerly greets me with a joyful ‘good morning’. Hence, it’s me leaving early so to appear human for the rest of the day, instead of a demon freshly escaped from hell.
My advice? Don’t believe anything that the TV regurgitates; even with the best intentions it’s all fake and unrealistic. Do you want to fill up your spare time in a way that relaxes and gives you peace to the mind and joy to the soul? Read a book, play ball with your dog, go for a walk, or even distract yourself looking at the clouds while sipping a cup of tea.
Sometimes any corny solution is the best panacea.
Cheers, and keep being fantastic!